Lately I’ve been looking over my old songbooks, half finished songwriting ideas and my recording archives to see if there are any thing that I can rewrite, reboot, update or restore in any way. Sometimes I get inspired by this exercise but for most of the time I don’t.
For me, it very much depends on what is currently going on in my life and how I’m feeling at the time because this exercise requires me to listen to these old songs with a fresh pair of ears.
This is a challenge as I inadvertently put my old songs and ideas into concrete and this makes it very hard to rewrite them in any other way. In fact, any rewriting of old songs is considered a little victory for me.
So, when it comes to the difficulty in rewriting old songs it’s nice to know that I keep in good company.
I came across an article by songwriter Tony Conniff titled “Revisiting Earlier Songs… As A More Experienced Writer” and he discusses how the more experience he gains as a songwriter, the more opportunities he has to improve on his earlier songwriting attempts.
On this topic, he says…
“It’s a bit of a paradox – my rush forward to write more songs, to gain experience, to get better, has perhaps left holes in some of my past songs (or maybe the holes are there simply because I didn’t know how to plug them at the time…?). But that rush forward to write more songs has also given me the experience to improve things that I thought were settled (but don’t have to be).”
Reading Tony’s article has definitely made me feel better about my struggles with revisiting older songs.
What I get from the article is that the more songs that I write, the more experience I gain in honing my craft, and with that knowledge and experience under my belt, the more I can look and hear my older songs with a fresh pair of eyes and ears.
At the very least that is yet another reason never to throw any of your old songs and songwriting ideas away. You never what you can do with them in the future.
Do you have a whole bunch of old song that need revisiting. Maybe reading Tony Conniff’s article will inspire you to take another look.